Disgraceful trial about to start in LuxLeaks case

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) does not recognize the legitimacy of the legal proceeding against whistleblowers Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet and journalist Edouard Perrin, who are due to go on trial today in Luxembourg in connection with a massive leak about corporate tax avoidance schemes.

The trial will get under way one year after charges were first brought against those held responsible for revealing how cross-border tax avoidance by major multinational corporations was facilitated by Luxembourg’s government under then Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker (now president of the European Commission).

Deltour, a former employee of corporate auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), is facing up to ten years in prison. Fellow PwC employee Halet is alleged to have collaborated in the leak. Perrin is co-defendant because he is the journalist who broke the story on France 2 TV’s “Cash Investigation” programme.

They are charged with domestic theft, violating professional confidentiality, violating business secrets and fraudulently accessing a database. This is an outrage given the importance of the service that the leaks rendered to Europe’s citizens.

“This trial should not be taking place,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “The information revealed by the LuxLeaks case is of major importance and is clearly in the public interest. Who can claim that the public does not have the right to be told about the tax optimization methods used by leading multinationals and the preferential treatment they get from certain governments?

“The trade secrets directive adopted by the European Parliament on 14 April has a clause that refers to article 11 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights protecting journalists, their sources and the ‘freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority.’ At the very least, Luxembourg’s justice system should accept this principle.”

This trial is not worthy of Luxembourg or its ranking in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index – 15th out of 180 countries.

Published on
Updated on 29.04.2016